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Telecom Tweets of the Week: Floating the idea of nationalized 5G

There was a brief dust-up this week about the possibility of a nationalized 5G network that prompted immediate outcry from the industry, trade groups and telecom regulators such as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai — and some speculation that hey, maybe it isn’t a crazy idea?

This appears to be yet another flash in the Trump-news pan, but it’s an interesting illustration of how concerned the government is about the role of China in technology development and how that might impact national security. I don’t think it will ever make it into an actual proposal beyond what was leaked, or that any such proposal would have a chance of actually coming to fruition — the government has had enough issues getting people on board for FirstNet, although the agency and AT&T ultimately pulled off unanimous opt-in. Trying to concoct some sort of nationalized 5G network seems like a technical, logistical and financial nightmare that the government is unlikely to actually take on (particularly if it might compete with commercial carriers) even if it continues to be worried about the role of Chinese technology and technology companies.

ICYM this week’s quarterly results from the Big Four, telecom analysts are hitting some of the high points:

Sprint is talking up its plans for 5G in 2019 with massive multiple-input-multiple-output as its gateway technology. Will we finally see significant 2.5 GHz utilization?? Sprint has been talking about the value of that for a loooooong time, and I’ve heard speculation from time to time that at least in theory, that spectrum trove + wireless backhaul means that Sprint could leapfrog other networks’ capabilities with faster deployment and lower costs. But of course, the devil is in actually being able to make that possibility a reality. Sprint seems to be pulling off improvements on customer numbers, maybe executing on their network isn’t as far-fetched a concept?

That “puck” reference, by the way, is a dig at AT&T’s comments that it expects the first 5G devices that it deploys to be “pucks” that are basically personal mobile hot spots. Presumably that support devices via Wi-Fi, much like the customer premise equipment for fixed wireless access 5G, so that devices which don’t support mmwave and/or 5G NR have a way to use the network.

Meanwhile, Verizon and T-Mobile US were racing to be first this week on narrowband IoT tests, laying the groundwork for nationwide deployment of the technology in guard bands.

Verizon says that it will have a national NB-IOT guard band network deployment across its network this year.

As we enter Super Bowl weekend, my favorite hashtag is #SuperbOwls. Watch out for the shift key, it changes everything.

Also, this:

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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